A line-by-line translation

Troilus and Cressida

Troilus and Cressida Translation Act 2, Scene 1

Line Map Clear Line Map Add

Enter AJAX and THERSITES

AJAX

Thersites!

AJAX

Thersites!

THERSITES

Agamemnon, how if he had boils? full, all over,generally?

THERSITES

What if Agamemnon had boils  all over him?

AJAX

Thersites!

AJAX

Thersites!

THERSITES

And those boils did run? say so: did not thegeneral run then? were not that a botchy core?

THERSITES

If those pus-filled boils ran would that not mean that the general was running? Wouldn't that be a sight.

AJAX

Dog!

AJAX

You dog!

THERSITES

Then would come some matter from him; I see none now.

THERSITES

If that happened we might finally see something meaningful coming from him.

AJAX

Thou bitch-wolf's son, canst thou not hear?

AJAX

You son of a bitch, are you ignoring me?

Beating him

AJAX

Feel, then.

AJAX

If you won't listen to me, I'll beat my meaning into you.

THERSITES

The plague of Greece upon thee, thou mongrelbeef-witted lord!

THERSITES

Curse you, you thick mongrel of a lord.

AJAX

Speak then, thou vinewedst leaven, speak: I willbeat thee into handsomeness.

AJAX

If you talk, you rotten yeast, I will beat you back into shape.

THERSITES

I shall sooner rail thee into wit and holiness: but, I think, thy horse will sooner con an oration than thou learn a prayer without book . Thou canst strike, canst thou? a red murrain o' thy jade's tricks!

THERSITES

It would be easier for me to talk you into being clever and righteous, but it's more likely your horse will deliver a speech that you will be able to recite a prayer by heart. You can hit things can you? A plague on your pathetic actions.

AJAX

Toadstool, learn me the proclamation.

AJAX

Toadstool, tell me what the proclamation says.

THERSITES

Dost thou think I have no sense, thou strikest me thus?

THERSITES

Do you think I have no feelings? Is that why you hit me like this?

AJAX

The proclamation!

AJAX

Read the proclamation!

THERSITES

Thou art proclaimed a fool, I think.

THERSITES

You are proclaimed to be a fool, I think.

AJAX

Do not, porpentine, do not: my fingers itch.

AJAX

Do not push me, little satirist, my hands are itching to beat you again.

THERSITES

I would thou didst itch from head to foot and I had the scratching of thee; I would make thee the loathsomest scab in Greece. When thou art forth in the incursions, thou strikest as slow as another.

THERSITES

I wish you itched from head to toe and that it was my job to scratch you, I'd scratch you until you were the most disgusting scab in Greece. When you are actually out in the battlefield you are no quicker to engage than anyone else.

AJAX

I say, the proclamation!

AJAX

I am telling you, read the proclamation!

THERSITES

Thou grumblest and railest every hour on Achilles,and thou art as full of envy at his greatness asCerberus is at Proserpine's beauty, ay, that thoubarkest at him.

THERSITES

You spend all day insulting Achilles, yet you only bark at him out of jealousy.

AJAX

Mistress Thersites!

AJAX

Mistress Thersites.

THERSITES

Thou shouldest strike him.

THERSITES

You should hit Achilles.

AJAX

Cobloaf!

AJAX

Worthless creature!

THERSITES

He would pun thee into shivers with his fist, as asailor breaks a biscuit.

THERSITES

He would pound you into pieces with his fists, just like a sailor breaking a biscuit.

AJAX

[Beating him] You whoreson cur!

AJAX

[Beating Thersites] You son of a whore!

THERSITES

Do, do.

THERSITES

Oh go ahead.

AJAX

Thou stool for a witch!

AJAX

You toadstool!

THERSITES

Ay, do, do; thou sodden-witted lord! thou hast no more brain than I have in mine elbows; an assinego may tutor thee: thou scurvy-valiant ass! thou art here but to thrash Trojans; and thou art bought and sold among those of any wit, like a barbarian slave. If thou use to beat me, I will begin at thy heel, and tell what thou art by inches, thou thing of no bowels, thou!

THERSITES

Go on, you brutish lump. You have less intellect in your head than I have in my elbows. A small donkey is brighter than you, you mock-brave ass! You are only here to beat Trojans, traded like a slave by brighter men than you. Hit me again and I'll tell you exactly what you're worth, you gutless wretch, from bottom to top.

AJAX

You dog!

AJAX

You dog!

THERSITES

You scurvy lord!

THERSITES

You worthless lord!

AJAX

[Beating him] You cur!

AJAX

[Beating him] You worthless creature!

THERSITES

Mars his idiot! do, rudeness; do, camel; do, do.

THERSITES

Brainless brawler, go ahead idiot, go on, you camel, go on.

Enter ACHILLES and PATROCLUS

ACHILLES

Why, how now, Ajax! wherefore do you thus? How now,Thersites! what's the matter, man?

ACHILLES

Woah there, Ajax! Why are you hitting him? Why, Thersites, what is wrong?

THERSITES

You see him there, do you?

THERSITES

You see that man, yes?

ACHILLES

Ay; what's the matter?

ACHILLES

Yes, what is the problem.

THERSITES

Nay, look upon him.

THERSITES

Look at him.

ACHILLES

So I do: what's the matter?

ACHILLES

I am, what is the problem?

THERSITES

Nay, but regard him well.

THERSITES

No, really look at him.

ACHILLES

'Well!' why, I do so.

ACHILLES

Well, I am looking at him.

THERSITES

But yet you look not well upon him; for whosoever youtake him to be, he is Ajax.

THERSITES

You can't look well upon him, for he is Ajax.

ACHILLES

I know that, fool.

ACHILLES

I know that, fool.

THERSITES

Ay, but that fool knows not himself.

THERSITES

Yes well the fool does not know himself.

AJAX

Therefore I beat thee.

AJAX

Which is why I hit you.

THERSITES

Lo, lo, lo, lo, what modicums of wit he utters! his evasions have ears thus long. I have bobbed his brain more than he has beat my bones: I will buy nine sparrows for a penny, and his pia mater is not worth the nineth part of a sparrow. This lord, Achilles, Ajax, who wears his wit in his belly and his guts in his head, I'll tell you what I say of him.

THERSITES

Oh look here, what small pieces of wit come out of his mouth! He has the wit of a donkey. I have made him look like a fool more than he has beaten me physically. If I buy nine sparrows for a penny I could not buy a ninth of a sparrow with all his wit. This man Ajax, Achilles, has no thoughts beyond basic impulses. I'll tell you what I think of him.

ACHILLES

What?

ACHILLES

What do you think of him?

THERSITES

I say, this Ajax—

THERSITES

I think this Ajax...

Ajax offers to beat him

ACHILLES

Nay, good Ajax.

ACHILLES

Be gentle, good Ajax.

THERSITES

Has not so much wit—

THERSITES

Has not got enough wit.

ACHILLES

Nay, I must hold you.

ACHILLES

Leave it Thersites.

THERSITES

As will stop the eye of Helen's needle, for whom hecomes to fight.

THERSITES

To fill the eye of Helen's needle, who is the only reason he was brought here.

ACHILLES

Peace, fool!

ACHILLES

Be silent, fool.

THERSITES

I would have peace and quietness, but the fool willnot: he there: that he: look you there.

THERSITES

I would happily live in peace and quiet, but the fool will not, he is the fool, look at him.

AJAX

O thou damned cur! I shall—

AJAX

Oh you cursed wretch! I shall...

ACHILLES

Will you set your wit to a fool's?

ACHILLES

Will you set your wit against that of a fool?

THERSITES

No, I warrant you; for a fool's will shame it.

THERSITES

I doubt he will, because my wit will make him look stupid again.

PATROCLUS

Good words, Thersites.

PATROCLUS

Good one, Thersites.

ACHILLES

What's the quarrel?

ACHILLES

Why are you arguing?

AJAX

I bade the vile owl go learn me the tenor of theproclamation, and he rails upon me.

AJAX

I asked the stupid creature to tell me what the proclamation said, and he started insulting me.

THERSITES

I serve thee not.

THERSITES

I am not your servant.

AJAX

Well, go to, go to.

AJAX

Well then, go away, begone.

THERSITES

I serve here voluntarily.

THERSITES

I serve in the army as a volunteer.

ACHILLES

Your last service was sufferance, 'twas notvoluntary: no man is beaten voluntary: Ajax washere the voluntary, and you as under an impress.

ACHILLES

You last task wasn't voluntary it was forced upon you, no one chooses to be beaten up. Ajax volunteered for his role, you were forced into yours.

THERSITES

E'en so; a great deal of your wit, too, lies in your sinews, or else there be liars. Hector have a great catch, if he knock out either of your brains: a' were as good crack a fusty nut with no kernel.

THERSITES

Even so. If most of your intelligence does not reside in your muscles, then people were lying about you. If Hector cracks open either of your heads it would be like cracking open a nut to find nothing inside

ACHILLES

What, with me too, Thersites?

ACHILLES

Are you mocking me too now, Thersites?

THERSITES

There's Ulysses and old Nestor, whose wit was mouldyere your grandsires had nails on their toes, yoke youlike draught-oxen and make you plough up the wars.

THERSITES

Ulysses and old Nestor, whose wit was mouldy by the time your grandfathers had toenails, are still able to get you two to be like ploughmen for their wars.

ACHILLES

What, what?

ACHILLES

Pardon?

THERSITES

Yes, good sooth: to, Achilles! to, Ajax! to!

THERSITES

Oh yes, hya Achilles, hya hya Ajax.

AJAX

I shall cut out your tongue.

AJAX

I shall cut out your tongue.

THERSITES

'Tis no matter! I shall speak as much as thouafterwards.

THERSITES

It doesn't matter, afterwards I'll still speak as much sense as you.

PATROCLUS

No more words, Thersites; peace!

PATROCLUS

Okay stop now Thersites, be silent.

THERSITES

I will hold my peace when Achilles' brach bids me, shall I?

THERSITES

I'll be silent on the orders of Achilles's bitch, shall I?

ACHILLES

There's for you, Patroclus.

ACHILLES

That's what you get for helping him, Patroclus.

THERSITES

I will see you hanged, like clotpoles, ere I comeany more to your tents: I will keep where there iswit stirring and leave the faction of fools.

THERSITES

I'll never come to your tent again unless it is to see you thickheads hanged. I will go where there is more wit and leave you fools behind.

Exit

PATROCLUS

A good riddance.

PATROCLUS

Good riddance.

ACHILLES

Marry, this, sir, is proclaim'd through all our host: That Hector, by the fifth hour of the sun, Will with a trumpet 'twixt our tents and Troy To-morrow morning call some knight to arms That hath a stomach; and such a one that dare Maintain—I know not what: 'tis trash. Farewell.

ACHILLES

Indeed, Ajax this is what was proclaimed through our camp: Hector, five hours after sunrise tomorrow, will come with a trumpet to the ground between our tents and Troy and call out to fight him any knights who are brave enough, and whoever dares... whatever, it doesn't matter, the whole thing is trash. Goodbye.

AJAX

Farewell. Who shall answer him?

AJAX

Goodbye, who shall fight him?

ACHILLES

I know not: 'tis put to lottery; otherwiseHe knew his man.

ACHILLES

I don't know, it will be a matter of chance, otherwise his opponent would be obvious.

AJAX

O, meaning you. I will go learn more of it.

AJAX

Oh, you mean yourself. I will go find out more.

Exeunt

Troilus and cressida
Join LitCharts A+ and get the entire Troilus and Cressida Translation as a printable PDF.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
  • Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
  • Downloads of 730 LitCharts Lit Guides
  • Explanations and citation info for 17,640 quotes covering 730 books
  • Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
  • PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms
Tom hill
About the Translator: Tom Hill

Tom Hill lives in his native London where he has just finished studying for an MA in Shakespeare Studies at King's College London and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. He has worked in education both in the UK and in Asia. His favorite Shakespeare play is The Merchant of Venice.